Millwall 1 Brighton 2: Barnes and El-Abd send table-topping Seagulls two points clear
17:01 GMT, 22 September 2012
Goals from Ashley Barnes and Adam El-Abd fired Brighton to the top of the npower Championship.
A goal in each half was enough to sink Millwall and secure a fifth straight win for Gus Poyet's slick side.
However, they were indebted to a stunning late save from former Manchester United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak to secure victory after 10-man Millwall threatened an unlikely comeback.
Power finish: Adam El Abd hits the decisive second for Brighton
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Lowry, Osborne, Malone (Robinson 61), Henry, Wright (Chris Taylor 45), Abdou, Trotter, Keogh (Henderson 76), Wood.
Subs not used: Maik Taylor, Shittu, Batt, Smith.
Sent off: Chris Taylor (68).
Goals: Wood 79.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor (Calderon 45), Greer, El-Abd, Bridge, Bridcutt, Buckley, Orlandi (LuaLua 83), Hammond, Barnes, Mackail-Smith (Dicker 43).
Subs not used: Ankergren, Dunk, Dobbie, David Lopez.
Goals: Barnes 17, El-Abd 50.
Ref: Andre Marriner.
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Recalled striker Barnes tucked away his third goal of the season and centre-half El-Abd grabbed his first in nearly two years.
But Chris Wood pulled one back on his
full debut and the on-loan West Brom striker almost made himself an
instant hero in stoppage time only to be denied by Kuszczak.
The Lions also had winger Chris Taylor sent off and a third straight defeat left them in the bottom three.
Wood almost made his mark after just five minutes with a powerful header, but Kuszczak made a smart save.
And Brighton were soon on top with
Wayne Bridge forcing Lions keeper David Forde into a fingertip save with
a low, angled drive before Will Buckley fired narrowly wide.
Brighton's pressure told in the 17th
minute when Buckley beat Scott Malone to the byline and his cutback was
expertly sidefooted into the net by Barnes from 10 yards.
Flying high: Gus Poyet's Brighton have won five on the spin
The Seagulls should have gone two up
after half an hour when Forde, back in the side at the expense of Maik
Taylor, came racing out to collect a long ball only for Buckley to get
The winger nodded the ball past Forde
but by the time he steered his shot towards the net, Shane Lowry had
got back to block on the line.
Buoyed by that let-off, Millwall
improved as the first half drew towards a close but Kuszczak was not
unduly troubled as he saved efforts from James Henry and Liam Trotter
while Wood blazed Nadjim Abdou's cross over the bar.
Instead Brighton did double their
advantage at the start of the second half when Millwall failed to deal
with Andrea Orlandi's corner and the ball fell to El-Abd, who swept it
home from six yards.
Barnes had a header cleared off the
line by Trotter following another poorly-defended corner as Brighton
looked to kill the Lions off.
And the hosts' misery was compounded
when substitute Taylor left a foot in when he went in for a 50-50 ball
with Kuszczak, leaving the Brighton keeper in a heap and referee Andre
Marriner waving a red card.
Yet Wood's drive 11 minutes from time
gave the 10 men hope and, in stoppage time, the ball fell to the young
New Zealander again only for Kuszczak to block his point-blank volley to
ensure Brighton took top spot.